3D Vision Blog

A normal user's look into the world of 3D Stereo Technologies

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Sony’s 3D Bloggie (MHS-FS3) Video Camera is Now Available

April 25th, 2011 · 5 Comments · Shooting in 3D

After the recent information that Sony will be delaying the release of their first 3D consumer camcorder – the Sony HDR-TD10 due to the situation in Japan, the company started offering their smaller 3D Bloggie MHS-FS3 portable camera in USA. This is actually the first real dual-lens 3D consumer product that Sony is releasing on the market, so now let us see how good did they manage to make it. Everyone that gets the 3D Bloggie is welcome to share some 3D photos as well as 3D videos recorded with it…

The interaxial distance of the two lens at the back of the 3D Bloggie is about 20 millimeters or about 0.78 inches which should actually be Ok for the sensor size (1/4 type CMOS sensor) that this portable 3D camcorder uses, after all it is made more for close-up photos and videos. The recommended distance by Sony between the camera and the subject of approximately 1.2 m to 5.0 m (approximately 3 feet 11 1/4 inches to 16 feet 4 7/8 inches). One thing that you should not forget when shooting in 3D mode with the 3D Bloggie camera is that you should hold it horizontally (landscape orientation) due to the way the two lenses on the back are positioned.

When shooting 3D photos or 3D videos you will be limited to 1920×1080 resolution (30p for videos) which is about 2Mp, you cannot take 3D pictures or 3D videos in other resolutions, although when in 2D mode you can use the full 5Mp resolution of the camera and have additional options. When shooting in 3D mode you will also not be able to use the Face detection function, use the Digital Zoom, the Anti-blur mode or 360 degree recording with the additional 360 video lens, so you are a bit limited as compared to when taking 2D photos or 2D videos. With a single charge of the device you should be able to record 3D video for about 40 to 60 minutes, the playback on a single charge should be providing you with up to 120 minutes. When recording video continuously you can do it for about 29 minutes when it will automatically stop recording as well as when the file size reaches 2GB size (whatever comes first).

The display of the 3D Bloggie camera is an autostereoscopic one, meaning you can watch 3D without needing special glasses, there is a button that allows you to switch between 2D and 3D mode. So you can not only take 3D photos and 3D videos with it, but also preview them with the camera or connect it to a bigger screen 3D HDTV and play them back on it through mini-HDMI connection. If you try to play a 3D image on a non 3D-ready HDTV, then you will be shown just a 2D version of the photo (the left view). The camera comes with a 3D Adjust function that helps you control the parallax of 3D photos in order to correct small composition issues where the depth is not at the level you wanted it to be.

The recording in 3D is done in Side-by-Side format, JPEG for the 2D photos and MPO for the 3D and MP4 (1920x1080p MPEG-4 AVC/H.264) for the videos. And apparently you will also be able to use the 3D Bloggie as a web camera if you connect it to your desktop or a laptop computer, not only in 2D mode, but in 3D mode as well. In this case the video size will be limited to 640×480 resolution and only the video will be transmitted from the camera to the computer through the USB connection, so for audio you will need an additional microphone.

The Sony MHS-FS3 3D Bloggie video camera is already available at Amazon…
First impressions from a 3D Bloggie owner and samples from the 3D camera in the forum…

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Testing Fujifilm Real 3D W1 Camera in Different Light Conditions

October 9th, 2010 · 7 Comments · Shooting in 3D

By now you should all know that shooting in 3D requires more light for good results, the light is needed to bring up more details and darkness is a total enemy of the 3D, because when it is dark you loose detail and get noise instead. So one thing I was not happy about the Fujifilm Real 3D W1 camera I have and use for a few months was the fact that it produces quite a lot of noise (maybe I’m too spoiled from using DSLR), especially when there is not enough light – for example when shooting in 3D indoors. And I’ve been meaning to do some more testing in order to see how the level of the ambient light affects the quality of the 3D photos you can take with the camera. So I finally did a controller test with different light intensity, shooting some photos in 3D with the W1 3D camera and under different settings from the camera menu – both in automatic and manual modes and with and without the use of the built-in flash. The photos were taken indoors with the traditional office lightning using fluorescent lamps as well as additional photographic lights that were used to bring up the level of the light for the purposes of the test…

All the test photos were of two 1.5V batteries (bigger and smaller) next to each other on a seamless white background which is not the best idea for getting good and easily distinguishable 3D effect, but the focus were the batteries in the center and the level of detail we get with each shot under different conditions. It is important to note that all the photos were taken at 10 megapixel resolution, which is the maximum for the sensor used in the W1 camera with the highest level of quality in order for the image compression to bring as little as possible additional quality loss. The use of higher resolution for the original image gives you some advantage, because you can resize and crop them after that to 1920×1080 resolution which is pretty much the highest widely available resolution for 3D displays. And this way you will be able to lessen the negative impact of noise over the photos, but it might not always help that much. But lets start with the photos shot in different conditions. Have in mind that the photos below are cropped to show just the center part of the original images where the two batteries are, but there is just cropping and no resizing/resampling done on them.

Fujifilm W1 on Auto, without flash

1. With light intensity of 100 lux – 1/85 sec, F4, ISO 800
2. With light intensity of 1000 lux – 1/110 sec, F4, ISO 200
3. With light intensity of 1800 lux – 1/85 sec, F4, ISO 100
4. With light intensity of 2600 lux – 1/125 sec, F4, ISO 100
5. With light intensity of 3300 lux – 1/160 sec, F4, ISO 100

Fujifilm W1 on Auto, with forced flash

6. With light intensity of 3300 lux – 1/300 sec, F4, ISO 200
7. With light intensity of 2600 lux – 1/220 sec, F4, ISO 200
8. With light intensity of 1800 lux – 1/150 sec, F4, ISO 200
9. With light intensity of 1000 lux – 1/90 sec, F4, ISO 200
10. With light intensity of 100 lux – 1/60 sec, F4, ISO 400

Fujifilm W1 on Manual, F4, no flash, 100 lux

11. Set at ISO 100 – 1/13 sec
12. Set at ISO 200 – 1/25 sec
13. Set at ISO 400 – 1/52 sec
14. Set at ISO 800 – 1/100 sec
15. Set at ISO 1600 – 1/150 sec

Fujifilm W1 on Manual, F4, no flash, 3300 lux

16. Set at ISO 100 – 1/150 sec
17. Set at ISO 200 – 1/320 sec
18. Set at ISO 400 – 1/500 sec
19. Set at ISO 800 – 1/500 sec*
20. Set at ISO 1600 – 1/500 sec*

* The camera did not go to over 1/500 sec exposure, so the photos were overexposed

Fujifilm W1 on Manual, F4, with forced flash, 100 lux

21. Set at ISO 100 – 1/60 sec
32. Set at ISO 200 – 1/60 sec
43. Set at ISO 400 – 1/60 sec
54. Set at ISO 800 – 1/90 sec
25. Set at ISO 1600 – 1/200 sec

And just as a reference 3300 lux light intensity is roughly equivalent to a bright day with some light clouds covering the sun, with no direct sunlight. And from all the testing I can conclude that the best visual results seem to be achieved with ISO 100, F4 and 1/60-1/90 sec exposure provided that you have enough light for these conditions. Unfortunately having higher ambient light intensity does not mean that the level of noise even at the lowest ISO 100 setting gets reduced, you can say that the level of noise remains pretty much constant as a minimum even at best possible conditions… it is just that the camera is not capable of better results. I do hope that the new Fuji W3 camera will provide better results and will have less noise in the 3D photos it produces as well as the video, although I do not have much higher expectations. The only more attractive feature that the W3 provides is the 720p 3D video mode as compared to the 640×480 resolution currently available on the W1, but that is currently not that big of a reason for me to upgrade.

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Panasonic Working on a 3D Lens Adapter for The LUMIX G Micro System

July 29th, 2010 · 3 Comments · Shooting in 3D

Panasonic is quite active on the 3D front lately, after the 3D lens camcorder adapter, the company also announced it is working on a digital interchangeable twin-lens, making it possible to shoot 3D with a normal 2D interchangeable lens system camera (micro four-thirds). Designed to be used with Panasonic’s LUMIX G Micro System the new 3D Lens adapter is expected to be available on the market, although nobody is yet talking about pricing or compatible camera models… even the specifications of the lens such as interaxial distance are still kept secret.

Now, you should know that an Asian Company called Loreo has been working on such 3D lens adapters for quite a long time now, they’ve had working solutions even for SLR cameras and now offer versions for Digital SLRs and even micro four-thirds. So Panasonic is actually not the first to offer such type product, but maybe their solution will be better although we’ll have to wait a bit more for additional details to surface, but it might turn out to be a good product and maybe even quite affordable.

And just one important clarification. Having this special 3D lens adapter attached on a normal digital camera means that the normal frame is cut into two halves and each half is used to store the left and the right eye image respectively. So lets say you are using a Panasonic DMC-G1 camera with this 3D lens adapter, since the camera has a resolution of 4000×3000 pixels (4:3 aspect) then if you take 3D picture you’ll have a single image where 2000×3000 pixels are used for the left eye and the other 2000×3000 pixels are used for the right eye visual information. If the images are not being squashed (and they probably won’t be) no stretching will be made and the 3D photo you’ll be getting will be with more height than width and that means black bars on the sides when viewing the image on a 3D monitor or 3D TV with 16:9 aspect ratio. The interaxial distance with this adapter is also quite small judging from the photos, so it will be more suitable for closer photography in 3D than actually taking photos of more distant objects.

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